Stoke-on-Trent residents face 4% council tax rise in 2018-19

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Stoke-on-Trent residents face a 4% rise in their Council Tax bills in 2018-19.

The hike was outlined in today’s budget consultation launched at the Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The budget plan was presented by Council leader, Dave Conway, deputy leader, Abi Brown, city director David Sidaway and assistant director for finance Nick Edmonds.

The council is planning on a 4% increase in council tax, which would mean a band A property would be paying an extra 63 pence a week.

The budget proposals say the  increase in council tax was necessary to support older people (3%) and children in care (1%).

New car parking charges at leisure centres are to be introduced, and the budget for sports and leisure will be cut by £423,000.

The council also plans to reduce the budget for homelessness services by £316,000, increasing to £1 million in 2019/20.

A breakdown of the the council’s investment plan for 2018-2019:

£5.8 million to help people live independently in their own homes.

£8.2 million to help children in care.

£5.5 million to support people with learning disabilities.

£1.9 million on older people’s services.

£162.1 million investment in housing.

£13 million investment in affordable green energy in Stoke-on-Trent.

£6 million to refurbish the potteries museum and art gallery.

£91.9 million on road improvements and infrastructure including LED street lighting and Etruria Valley Link Road.

Council leader Dave Conway said: “Setting a budget in what is being considered one of the toughest years ever for local authorities is extremely challenging.

“While we know our Stronger Together strategy is delivering – we are seeing more jobs, more homes and more benefits for the local economy – there is still a long way to go. By law we have to balance our budget – we have no choice.

“Costs have gone up as demand for our services has increased.

”At the same time nearly half the money we received from government has been removed meaning we have to take tough decisions.

“We are investing in the right way to ensure we can deliver essential services to the most vulnerable in our community but we also have to make tough decisions to find the balance in other ways.

“We continue to focus on redesigning services wherever we can, getting more value for money and looking at ways we can use the council’s expertise to generate income and become more commercially minded.

“We have set out a £429.2m capital investment programme** to 2022/23.

”This includes £2m investment in community initiatives to provide additional community-based facilities and activities, for example, to help our residents who suffer from dementia.

“It also includes £162.1m on refurbishing and building 360 new council houses which in turn will improve the quality of people’s lives and generate income that can be invested into essential services.

”For every 400 homes built, we will receive £1m via the government’s New Homes Bonus and council tax.”

Residents can air their views during a Public consultation on the budget until January 8.

A special cabinet meeting will take place on November 28 to discuss the budget proposals.

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